Last year (2016) I entered the Epson International Panoramic Awards and the International Photography awards. Why?, to be honest it seemed like a good idea at the time. The photographers I admired most all have various awards from these competitions so I selected a few images, from memory these were just based on the ones that had the most likes on Instagram, paid my money and submitted them.
Months later I noticed an email in my inbox congratulating me on my Honourable Mention in the IPA. Shocked didn't really do my reaction justice, completely amazed probably covered it, as when I logged onto to see the details I noticed there was another HM in there as well. A few days later, I logged into the Epson awards site and saw a Silver and Bronze. I'd made it, I was on my way, fame and fortune awaits. This Photography awards thing was easy.
Fast forward 12 months, I eagerly awaited the influx of new awards heading my way when the IPA results were announced. My images were better this year surely. I checked the website, checked my mail, rechecked the winners list as I was sure there had been a mistake because I hadn't received a notification yet. It gradually dawned on me that it wasn't going to come. I was a failure. I went out to shoot a sunrise the next morning and I honestly didn't know how to work my camera. Confidence shot, I was a gibbering wreck.
As the sun rose, so did the realisation that I'd spent so much time trying to create award winners, and put an ego boost above everything else, that I'd forgotten what photography should be about first and foremost, and that is to take images for my relaxation and enjoyment. So I didn't win, but my photography was the winner.
Footnote - I picked up 1 silver and 3 bronze awards in the 2017 Epson Panoramic Awards. Whilst truly grateful for these, I am so pleased they came after my enlightenment rather than before.